Australia’s Federal Court has ruled against Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic’s appeal of a deportation order, meaning he likely will not be allowed to play in the Australian Open on Monday night.
Federal Court Chief Justice James Allsop, announced the court’s decision after deliberating with two fellow judges.
Djokovic had been seeking to overturn Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to cancel his visa for a second time.
Djokovic’s visa was initially cancelled on January 6 at Melbourne airport hours after he arrived, after authorities decided that Djokovic didn’t qualify for a medical exemption from Australia’s rules for unvaccinated visitors.
However, a circuit court overruled the decision. Immigration Minister Hawke then cancelled the visa again on the grounds that Djokovic’s presence in Australia could pose a risk to public health and “good order,” while being “counterproductive to efforts at vaccination by others in Australia.”
What did the court say?
Chief Justice Allsop said Sunday that the court had reviewed the lawfulness of Hawke’s decision and ruled that Djokovic’s “amended application be dismissed with costs.”
Allsop added that the court would provide more details into its legal reasoning later Sunday.
Djokovic spent Saturday night in an immigration detention hotel in Melbourne, but was allowed to leave on Sunday to meet with his legal team, under the watch of immigration officials.
Djokovic visa saga
Hawke’s lawyers argue that Djokovic is a “talisman of a community of anti-vaccine sentiment.”
Hawke’s legal team referenced the star’s attendance of a French media interview while he was infectious after testing positive for COVID-19 in December.
“The minister took the view that his presence in Australia would encourage people to emulate his apparent disregard for … safety measures,” lawyer Stephen Lloyd said.
The tennis star’s lawyer’s argued that there was no evidence to suggest Djokovic would “foster anti-vaccination sentiment.”
Lawyer Nick Wood said that deporting the star could stir up anti-vax sentiment.
Djokovic vaccination status
The move caused outrage among many Australians who have endured some of the world’s most stringent anti-COVID measures.
While there has been much criticism over the star’s vaccination status, the Australian government’s handling of the situation, has been questioned.
The unvaccinated star, who has won the Australian Open 9 times, was hoping to achieve a record 21st major title.
kb (Reuters, AP)
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